You might’ve guessed that I have a huge affinity for seafood. Shrimp specially. I think it’s due to my family’s traditions and how I grew up in Mexico. My hometown is about 50 minutes from the beach so naturally, we had fresh seafood (catch of the day) available 24/7. My most fond memories are from the days spent at our beach house that was located on the Sea of Cortez.
Any chance we had we would go there. Weekends, spring break, summers, birthdays, holidays, and even Christmas. In fact, my baptism was celebrated there when I was 1 month old! Rain or sunshine we were there.
My family is HUGE! 9 kids to be exact. So imagine my parents lugging 9 kids to the beach PLUS all of us had at least 1 guest. It was a party every time we went to the beach house. Best times EVER! I feel bad for my mom having to cook for all of us. Now that I’m a grown up, I really don’t understand how she managed to feed us all. I bow down to her.
Every morning, my dad would take the kids (well teenagers by then except me) to catch some fish and shrimp that would become our meals for the day. My job was to go in the shallow water and collect clams buried in the soft sand. I was so proud of them! I would eat the clams (since they were MY catch) even though I didn’t like them lol!
I would give anything to be able to re-live those magical days. I’m so thankful to my parents for giving us such a beautiful childhood. I hope they can read this from heaven 🙂
This meal is so good! I like to make this when I want something savory, rich in texture, and gourmet but at the same time easy to make. I think it’s the perfect dish to make for a group of people since it doesn’t require much of a fuss when serving. A side of garlic bread will make the perfect companion.
For best results, use converted rice. Regular cooked rice makes a poor substitute since it’s too starchy. Converted rice is un-hulled rice that’s been soaked in hot water, steamed and dried. The husks are then removed, and the rice is milled. From this process, the grains retain 80% of their vitamins, but lose starch, making the rice less sticky. For this dish I like to use Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice.
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1 cup dry converted rice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
1.5 lbs large shrimp peeled and divined (tails on optional)
Tabasco or any other hot sauce to taste (optional)
Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside and keep it warm.
Combine salt, paprika, thyme, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
Saute shrimp and ham in 3 Tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook stirring occasionally, until shrimp are firm and pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer shrimp mixture to a plate and set aside. Return pan to burner.
Saute bell pepper, onion and garlic in remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat until pepper begins to soften, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and prepared rice; cook 4-5 minutes. Add shrimp and ham; stir to combine.